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tv   CNN Newsroom Live  CNN  January 12, 2024 1:00am-2:00am PST

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hello and a warm welcome to our viewers joining us in the united states and all around th. >> and i'm manx foster. just ahead -- >> they were designed to be deliberate. >> and already houthis are saying that they will respond against u.s. and uk interests. >> temperatures are dropping. it was warmer this morning. >> kids are out of school. >> this is a political witch
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hunt the likes of which nobody has ever seen before. they don't meet damages for what they have done. >> the sitting president's son could face prison time over taxes he didn't pay on foreign earnings. >> live from london, this is "cnn newsroom" with max foster and bianca nobilo. >> it is friday, skjanuary 12. and in yemen the u.s. and uk forces have been hammering houthi targets. >> the escalation in regional fighting has russia calling for an emergency meeting of the u.n. security council later today. newly released images show some of the new coalition strikes. a u.s. military official says it is unclear what percentage of houthi assets have been
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destroyed inside yemen, but that the amount was significant. >> a u.s. commander says more than 60 houthi targets were hit at 60 militant locations. >> this is a direct response to the surge of houthi attacks on commercial ships in the red sea. the iran backed houthis claim they have been going after vessels with a connection to israel as a show of support for palestinians in gaza. >> the u.s. president issued this statement, these targeted strikes are a clear message that the united states and our partners will not tolerate attacks on our personnel. and one of the world's most critical commercial routes, i will not hesitate to direct further measures to protect our people and free flow of international commerce as necessary. >> u.s. defense secretary lloyd austin says there will be further costs to houthi forces if they don't end the attacks. here is major pat ryder. >> we reserve the right to
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protect and defend our forces, to defend the global trade that transits through the ed sea and take necessary steps to make sure houthis understand it is unacceptable to the international community to continue to conduct the reckless, dangerous and illegal attacks against the mariners transiting the vital waterway. >> and there is mixed reaction from congressional leaders. some democrats are criticizing president biden for not getting congressional approval which is required by the constitution. >> he should have come as the constitution requires to congress and that was echoed in a bipartisan way by senator mike lee, representative jonathan jackson and many other senators and congress people. the constitution requires if there is not an imminent threat of self-defense, he has to come to congress. and here we know by your own reporting that this has been going on since december.
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he's assembled an entire international coalition. he certainly should have come to congress so we should discuss whether this actually could put more american troops at risk. i'm concerned about retaliation in iraq. and whether it could draw us into a middle east war. and i believe that he did not follow the constitution. >> senator mitch mcconnell and other republican leaders welcome the strikes but they blame biden for not acting sooner. here is what a former defense secretary in the trump administration had to say about it. >> i think it is a bold action by president biden. i think it is overdue. and based on what we've seen so far, i think it is fairly comprehensive and should go a long way to deter the task of degrading their capability to continue conducting the attacks against commercial ship management red sea. >> according to a congressional source, leaders in congress were briefed by senior biden administration officials earlier thursday. >> paula hancocks is there for
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us. the white house is clear this is to protect economic value if you like, because this is a shipping lane, but you also heard there from someone in congress suggesting that the risk is that it will be interpreted as getting involve in the middle east crisis and the war. >> reporter: that's correct, max. it is a risk that at this point the u.s. deemed was necessary and a risk that had to be taken given what they say had been happening from the houthi rebels. the attack on tuesday by houthi rebels. we understand from a senior administration official that those 21 drones and missiles that were shot down by u.s. and uk navy assets in the red sea, that was actually targeting a u.s. commercial vessel. so this was really the tipping point from washington's point of view, but they did have the support of the uk and other countries who believe that this was necessary. now, we've heard from uk junior
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armed force minister that no more attacks are immediately planned. but the u.s. has left the door open for the possibility that there could be more. we heard from u.s. president biden saying that he wouldn't hesitate to direct further measures to protect our people and the free flow of international commerce as necessary. so it is daytime now in yemen. the results of those nighttime strikes will be more evident. it is clear that the u.s. and uk militaries will be assessing whether or not they have sufficiently degraded the military capability of these rebels or whether there will be a need for more attacks. the houthi rebels have already said that there will be a retaliation. we've heard from the spokesperson calling what happened overnight here barbaric, terrorist and deliberate and unjustified aggression. also pointing out that they were wrong if they thought that they would deter yemen. so i don't think that anybody
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really expects this to be the end of it. there is this expectation that there will be some kind of retaliation from the iran-backed group. it is unclear what kind of format that retaliation will take. of course depending on how degraded the assets of this militia group are after the bombing attacks. but certainly nobody expects this to be the end of it. now, we did also hear from a senior u.s. administration official that part of the u.s. secretary of state antony blinken's message when he has been in the region the past several days has also been to point out that if these attacks would take place, they would be self-defense and would not be intended to expand the conflict more than it already is. so certainly this has been in the works for some time on the u.s. side. the political decision from
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president biden hasn't been taken to carry it out until after the tuesday attacks. but it shows that the political landscape was being prepared by secretary of state antony blinken while he was here to make sure that everybody in the region knew that they weren't trying to increase this conflict. but of course there is always that risk, that this could expand what is already happening. >> okay. paula, thank you so much for that. houthi deputy foreign minister is warning the u.s. and uk to prepare for severe robert more. >> reporter: the tar gets in the town in the southwest and western port city along or close to the bore der with saudi arab and also around the capital, the targets at radar sites,
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ballistic missile storage and launch sites, drone launch and storage sites, those are intended as the coalition says as the united states says to send a message. but they are intended to degrade the houthis' ability to target shipping in the red sea. but already the houthis are saying that they will respond against u.s. and uk interests. it was uk typhoon fighter jets that targeted two different sites. it was the united states missiles and fighter aircraft that targeted other sites. so houthis say that they will respond, that it is not quite clear how they will respond to uk and u.s. interests in the region. the potential here for escalation is very real. and it could be that the houthis continue to try to target shipping in the red sea to send a message. remember of course that after october 7, they began by trying
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to target israel by sending cruise missiles to israel and that some of those were intercepted by the united states, uk and also by saudi arabia. so there are a number of different ways and places that the houthis could target back. they have had a long running war against saudi arabia that only just ended not so long ago where they were sending long range cruise missiles to the capital riyadh, they have sent jones into the united arab emirates. so there are a number of ways that they can destabilize in their own view u.s. and uk interests in the region but doing it not just in the red sea but more broadly. so the concerns of the saudis about the potential for escalation are very real. they have been worrying about the october 7 attacks, israel's response to that escalating tension for northern border in israel with lebanon and hezbollah. all these iranian-backed proxies trying to stoke tensions in the region and houthis are the ones
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that seem to have precipitated this particular escalation. saudis of course saying that the freedom of navigation in the red sea is of vital importance to the region. so that while they are not part of that military coalition in the red sea, they are clearly giving it a green light to go ahead. but this potential right now depending on the houthi response, this is a very, very volatile time right now. nic robertson, cnn, tel aviv. houthis leader also posted online that the american and british strokes are an unjustified aggression that reflect as brutal psychology. earlier military analyst cedric leighton weighed in on about what they might do next. >> they will probably try to redouble their efforts. there will have to be some restrikes of some of the targets that were hit and probably be new targets that the u.s. and uk
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and other countries will probably have to engage before this is over. the u.s. effort is designed to protect international commerce, it is not related to what the israelis are doing this gaza. but the houthis have conflated the issues and have made it very clear to their population that they believe these issues are connected to each other. and that of course is going to present a major difficulty in terms of managing perceptions and what happens next. the u.s. says more than 50 countries have been affected by incidence of houthi attacks in recent months. a number of companies including maersk have been diverting away from the red sea. >> and that adds thousands of nautical miles to the journey and causes weeks of delays in shipping times and that adds up to a major threat to the global economy. >> head of equity research explains the potential impact on global shipping. >> there are essentially two things that happen. first time and the second is
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cost. they are slightly connected. so the former initially leads to short term disruptions by adding 10 to 15 days to the time in transit until trade routes are re-established. and secondly, that ties up equipment for longer which leads to tight supply. and then the second point means increased costs which is also two-fold. firstly longer sailing distances means more fuel and costs to operate the ship. and in addition the tightening of the shipping market itself increases the freight rates. and that is where the costs really start to sky rocket. >> before the attacks in yemen, media in iran reported its navy had seized an oil tanker in the gulf of amman and it is now diverted. the vessel was boarded by at least four armed people early
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thursday and of course set for iranian waters. >> tlast year the u.s. departmenten department condemned the move. >> iranian government must immediately release the ship and its crew. this unlawful seizure of a commercial vessel is just the latest behavior by iran or enabled by iran aimed at disrupting international commerce. we believe this kind of action will simply add uncertainty for commercial shipping and for regional and global economy. >> maritime monitoring website tanker tracker says the vessel is a marshall islands crude oil tanker named st. nicholas. the prime minister is headed to kyiv and he will sign a statement called an historic security agreement with ukraine including a commitment to
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consult with ukraine if russia ever invades it again. >> and 10 downing street also says that they will send more than $3 billion in military and humanitarian aid to kyiv over the next financial year. more than a quarter billion will be spent on military drones, largest drielivery from any country. across the united states millions are under threat of severe weather and millions more can look forward to bone chilling cold and even blizzard conditions. >> and more than 240 tale temperature records could be tied or broken through tuesday courtesy of a storm system. and more than 50 million people in the southeast are under severe storm threat today. tornadoes, high winds and large hail threaten the region. >> and in the northeast another round of heavy rain is prompting flood watches for more than 35 million people along the eastern
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sea board. this weather is impacting the last weekend of campaigning for the iowa republican caucuses. one candidate canceled today's events. and plus we'll tell you about the closing arguments in the fraud trial of donald trump in new york. and the u.s. secretary of state trying to ease concerns that the war in gaza is spreading.
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the 2024 presidential election season gets under way on monday when iowa republicans hold caucuses to select their nominee. with just three days left to convince voters blizzard warnings have prompted nikki haley to cancel friday events but she said she trusts iowa voters to make the right choice. will monday matters. your voice matters. i trust you. i trust you because i know america gets this. the political pundits on tv want to write the story already and act like november 2024 is already here. they don't know. but you do. and we'll find out on monday.
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>> no word so far on whether ron desantis will cancel any campaign events because of the weather. on thursday, he struck an optimistic note about his chances. >> i'd rather be the underdog. i understand that there are a lot of votes that want to have that narrative from the beginning of the election. i think i run very well as the guy that is working harder than everybody, the guy that is shaking hands, answering the questions. i'm showing up. all these debates i've accepted, i've accepted opportunities. i don't mind -- well, i do mind that he is not going to debate, but he did this town hall and tries to blame me for fauci? you should be on the stage doing that. let's see how that goes in the back and forth if you want to talk about you are not responsible for fauci. but he doesn't want to do that because he knows we'd have the ammunition on that.
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>> vivek ramaswamy is staying on the campaign trail. he has four campaign events planned for friday saying there is no substitute for meeting iowans face-to-face. >> the impact of the weather will be fascinating. will it keep voters from turning out. >> it is often cold there this time of year. and leading candidate spent his day thursday in a new york courtroom. closing arguments wrapped up in donald trump's $370 million civil fraud trial, a ruling is expected by the end of the month. >> trump falsely claimed that his legal troubles were caused by president joe biden. >> my legal issues, every one of them, civil and the criminal ones, are all set up by joe biden. crooked joe biden. this is something that has never happened in this country. even the civil ones, this is civil, they are set up by biden. every single just about case that i'm involved this is set up
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by biden. they are doing it for election interference. >> in fact the new york case was initiated by state investigators before biden came into office. >> the former president also launched into a five minute monologue from the defense table. paula reid has more on that and the rest of the story. >> reporter: usually closing arguments are an opportunity for lawyers to sun rise their theory of the case. and the day kicked off with trump's lawyer laying out their theory of the case arguing that this is a political persecution and that his client, trump, had no intention of defrauding banks and that the banks were never harmed. but after he wrapped his remarks, he then asked if his client could have a few minutes to address the court. the judge said i'll give you five minutes. the judge had previously set a
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restriction saying you can participate in closing arguments but you can't give a campaign speech. and that is exactly what trump did, attacking the judge, attacking the attorney general's office, and insisting that he is a, quote, innocent man. now, trump addressed the public on his way into court. on his way out of court, those remarks in court, and then had a press conference. so it appears that he got a real return on investment here in terms of amplifying his arguments that he is being targeted because of a desire by his political opponents to try to, quote, interfere in this election. but i want to note something that the attorney general's office said in their closing arguments. they noted that even though chris kise talked for two hours, others laid out their closing argument, but not one person addressed the false financial statements. and those are really the key to
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this case. paula reid, cnn, new york. hunter biden pleaded not guilty in a federal court on thursday. prosecutors say tax years 2016 through 2019, hunter biden spent his money on drugs, escorts and girlfriends, luxury hotels, ek on the exotic cars and basically everything but taxes. >> his attorney says it is a political hit job. republicans have accused president biden of benefiting financially from his son's business dealings with ukrainian and chinese companies. these claims remain unproven. the judge has set hunter biden's trial date for june 20. and after a short break, the u.s. and uk launching air and sea based strikes against iran-backed houthi targets in yemen. and also ahead, israel is facing accusations of genocide in gaza. details on this historic hearing coming up.
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give your business a head start in 2024 with this great offer. plus, ask how to get up to $1000 prepaid card with qualifying internet. welcome back. i'm bianca nobilo. >> i'm max foster. if you are just joining us, let me bring you up-to-date with the top stories. u.s. and uk and its allies say the airstrikes on houthi targets
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were aimed at restoring stability in the red sea. iran called it a violation of international law. u.s. military official says damage to houthi assets was significant. uk prime minister rishi sunak unveiled plans to provide ukraine with $3.2 billion in military and humanitarian support the next year. mr. sunak will visit kyiv on friday to sign a security cooperation agreement with ukraine. a senior biden administration official says the u.s. and uk strikes may not be the final action against houthi targets. more now from alex marquardt and mj lee. >> reporter: the united states and unite the kingdom have announced that they carried out what they call precision strikes against houthi targets in yemen. more than a dozen of them because of the attacks by houthi forces since late november against commercial shipping in the red sea. this is the red sea right here. it is a critical waterway that sees some 15% of the global
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shipping trade pass through it. so there were more than a dozen strikes mostly in the western part of yemen nnd and ain aroun capital and over here we saw the video of the night sky glowing after the strikes. in a moment you will see another strike right there. in terms of the targets that were hit, according to both the pentagon and as well as the houthis, air bases and airports, cha camps, radar systems and drones are center to those attacks. you've got storage and launch sites hit and as well as capabilities. in terms of what was used in these strikes, you have fighter jets from both the u.s. and united kingdom. this is one of the british fighter jets that was taking off in order to carry out an airstrike.
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you also have ships and submarine platforms used. one of the submarines was the uss florida, a guided missile submarine. they are able to fire tomahawk missiles against those targets on i ca ye yemenese soil. the carrier strike group has been in the region to try to deter any regional actors including houthis and iran from expanding the conflict we're seeing currently between easy really and hamas. the nhouthis warning that they would retaliate against any international strikes and the u.s. saying that they and their partners are prepared for that. in the wake of their strikes saying that this may not be the last word in terms of military action against the houthis. alex marquardt, cnn, washington. >> reporter: president biden saying thursday night that the u.s. is sending a clear message to the houthis that their
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ongoing attacks in the red sea will no longer be tolerated and he won't hesitate to direct further measures to protect u.s. personnel and freedom of navigation this the red sea. u.s. officials of course have been warning for weeks that the houthis must stop its attacks on shipping vessels in the red sea and last week we saw u.s. officials give what they said was a final warning and what we are learning tonight is that the attacks that we saw from the houthis on tuesday, this was just two days ago, had targeted some u.s. vessels. what we're told by sources is that had it not been for the defensive coalition called operation prosperity guardian, that was already set up by the u.s. and a number of its allies in the red sea, that we may have seen situations where ships were sunk by these attacks and that there was even an instance within the last month where a commercial vessel carrying jet
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fuel may have been hit. the senior official saying that some of these were basically close calls. now, it was after these tuesday attacks that president biden we're told convened his national security team and asked them to draw up a number of possible plans for retaliation and that is what ultimately culminated in these airstrikes conducted by the u.s. and uk with the support of a number of other nations. and what one senior military official said thursday night is that while it is not possible to say exactly what the damage was, that the damage to the houthi rebels and houthi assets for the time being could be described as significant. mj lee, cnn, the white house. the u.s. was not only sending that clear message that mj mentioned there. they joined the uk and eight other countries in issuing a joint statement on the strikes. >> it reads in part our aim remains to deescalate tensions
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and restore stability in the red sea but let our message be clear, we will not hesitate to defend lives and protect the free flow of commerce? one of the most critical waterways in the face of continued threats. >> australia also provided support for the strikes. here is the australian defense minister. >> these are very important actions. the actions that have been taken today supported by australia are about maintaining freedom of navigation on the high seas and maintaining global trade. that is completely central to australia's national interests. >> u.s. secretary of state antony blinken pushed back at suggestions that the war in gaza is spreading in the region. >> he spoke before the u.s. announced the strikes in yemen. he said the conflict is not escalating even though he recognized what he called danger points. egypt was the last stop in blinken's diplomatic tour.
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he said that goal is widely shared in the region. >> we're doing everything we can with regional support to make sure it doesn't spread, that there can't be a repeat of october 7, but also that this conflict comes to an end. it is vital that as long as this is going on, every effort be made to make sure that civilians who are caught in the crossfire hamas is making don't continue to suffer. >> for more, let's bring in an associates fellow with the middle east and north africa program at chatham house. great to have you with us. the reality is in contrast to what antony blinken was just saying now given the strikes overnight, it won't be accurate to say that this war is not spreading. we might be having some communications issues. are you with us?
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>> yes, i can hear you. >> fantastic. i was just asking -- we were listening to a sound bite from the u.s. secretary of state antony blinken yesterday saying that this war is not spreading in the region. but given the attacks overnight, surely this is fundamentally false to make that claim now given that we've had a military escalation. >> yes, i agree with your assessment. i think it has spread already. and not only that, i think that we have a long term strategic challenge for the united states interests in the middle east but also international navigation in the red sea. i think that we have to think about that in the long term. if we in the united states and ud deal with the escalation in the red sea as short term events, i think that we will have wrong answers to this
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problem. i think the strikes were n-- wil not deter the attacks. i think that they will increase. all the partners in the middle east have been cautions against expanding the strikes. and i think in addition it will have effects on the yemen and houthis may be embolemboldened, deterr deterred. >> houthis have said they are attacking ships link to the israel in response to the war in gaza. and the u.s. and uk have actually entered that war by carrying out strikes on houthi targets. >> absolutely.
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i think this was the messaging strategy from the houthis from day one. and the strikes will give this messaging a boost not only inside yemen but around the middle east and it will raise anti-americanism and anti-britishism going forward. i think houthis have objectives. first, they want to recruit more fighters into iran. they want to boost their legitimacy inside yemen and they want to improve their leverage in negotiations with the saudi-led government in the long term. on the regional scale, i think that they understand that the majority of the domestic populations in the middle east support the palestinians. and criticize the united states approach and unequivocal -- what was unequivocal support to israel at the beginning of the war and i think that they want to bank on that.
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the strikes may enhance this strategy unfortunately without reaching its particular objective of deterring the houthis and stopping the attacks. >> developing on that point that you are making, obviously the houthis have said that the attacks that they are carrying out are in solidarity with the palestinian cause and you touched on it a bit there, but strategically, do you think the goal was to provoke this reaction from the u.s. and its allies? and longer term what do you think is the longer view as far as the new a houthis are concerd how the conflict evolves? >> i think you are right, the houthis wanted this to happen and i think that we might be fallen for that for a central reason which is the houthis want to be seen and dealt with and recognized, not only middle east, but all over the world as
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a central component of iran's access to resistance in the middle east. additionally, they want to -- they want the world to speak directly to them in that they see some legitimizing that they can gain from that internally in yemen but also regionally. i think partners in the middle east are so concerned about the long term implications, this could take the shape of resuming the strikes by the houthis against uae and saudi arabia and bahrain now also joining the coalition but also striking the united states and british military bases deployed in the gulf. additionally they might attempt to block the southern red sea completely justifying that on the back of the strikes that happened today. but also i think that we have a
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double problem here, or a complicated one. on the one hand the regional countries agree that these attacks should stop and shouldn't be allowed to happen begin. but at the same time, they are very concerned that instead of stabilizing the security in the middle east, these strikes might actually make the situation worse. and i think that means also in the long term that the red sea will be a militarized region. the insurance premium for shipping will go higher and inflation might be also boosted because of the conflict in this area. >> yeah, a lot of economies are worried about that, global inflation rising as a result with what is happening in the red sea. ahmed, thank you very much. still ahead, israel denying accusations of genocide. a live report ahead.
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israel defending itself at the top u.n. court against accusations that it is committing genocide in gaza. sglts >> the second day began a short time ago. south africa is calling on the international court of justice to order israel to halt its military campaign in gaza. >> madelissa bell is joining us. a short hearing but time is of essence here. >> reporter: that's right. as expected, what we have heard from israeli lawyers so far is the question of self-defense, putting into the context of armed conflicts all that has happened in gaza these last three months with the lead counsel saying that in fact south africa's attempts to bring this case are a matter of subverting the 1948 genocide
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convention itself, turning at the explained into an aggressor's weapon. have a listen. >> entirety of its case hinges on a deliberately curated deacon textualized and manipulative description of the reality of current hostilities. >> reporter: of course today as yesterday, protestors have gathered, reminder of course of how keenly felt this particular conflict is with the pro palestinian protestors today, the ones who essentially have been given the floor in front of the court of justice. passionate protests on the streets outside of court as inside south africa laid out the details of their case. >> everyone an attack involving
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u us a trosity crimes can provide any justification for or defense to breaches of the convention. >> reporter: israel denied all accusations calling the case a blood liable. the attack killed more than 23,000 people. >> at least 200 times it has deployed 2,000 pound bombs in southern areas of palestinian designated as safe. >> israeli soldier -- >> reporter: but south africa says they are making no distinction between hamas and civilians of gaza. >> genocide intent is not from the soldiers on ground. these are the soldiers refuting
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the words of their prime minister. >> reporter: the moment welcomed by international groups in support of the palestinian people with many noting the importance of israel's presence too. there to defend its response to the hamas attacks on october 7 that killed at least 1200 people. the fact that they are here, that they are represented and they are presenting their formal response to south africa's case is significant and suggests that they attach legitimacy to the court. >> reporter: israel will be making its case here on friday. but just after the south african delegation had finished, a spokesman for israel foreign ministry said their claims are groundless and accusing them of
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being representatives of hamas in court. but south africa's goal, a call for the world court to order israel to stop the war. >> consequences of not indicating clear and particularized specific provision measures would we fear be very grave indeed for the palestinians in gaza who remain at real risk of further genocidal acts. >> reporter: although there were pro palestinian supporters here yesterday, this space had specifically been given to pro-israeli protesters. and important to remind of the communications campaign outside the court. families of nsid today and that is part of the israeli efforts today, not just mounting their defense inside the court, but reminding the world of why it is they are fighting this war. >> melissa bell, thank you so
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much for bringing us that. up next many schools across the u.s. are closed and airlines have already canceled more than 1,000 flights as coast to coast storms impact the country.
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let's get you one last update on the breaking news. u.s. and uk have launched a series of air and sea based strikes on houthi militants in yemen. targets include drone, missile and surveillance sites. an official says the damage was significant. houthi military official says five died and six wounded. >> this is after weeks of attacks on commercial shipping by the iran backed group. the u.s. says more than 2,000
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ships have been forced to reroute in the red sea. >> houthi militants are lashing out. one senior leader issued a statement saying we'll confront america, make it kneel down and burn its battleships an all its bases and everyone who cooperates with it no matter the cost. >> houthi leader also called on the world to prepare for america's defeat. and vowed not abandon the people of gaza. quick look at the extreme weather affecting millions across the u.s. more than 50 million people in the southeast are under threat of severe storms where tornadoes, high winds and large hail threaten the entire region. >> and more than 240 daily cold temperature records could be tied or broken across country through tuesday courtesy of a massive storm system impacting the u.s. over the next week more than 83% of the u.s. population is expected to see below freezing
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temperatures. >> send you into the weekend with that lovely news. >> and remember good things and good people still occur in the world. >> have a lovely weekend. i'm max foster. >> and i'm bianca nobilo. "early start" is up next.
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♪ ♪ right now on "early start," retaliation, the u.s. and uk hit back at houthi rebels who have been taking shots at commercial ships in


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